SC hears FR petitions against Duminda Silva’s presidential pardon

SC hears FR petitions against Duminda Silva’s presidential pardon

February 7, 2023   05:36 pm

Several Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed demanding the annulment of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to pardon former MP Duminda Silva, who was convicted and sentenced to death over the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, was taken up before the Supreme Court this morning (07 Feb.).

The hearing was held before a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising of Justices Preethi Padman Surasena, Gamini Amarasekera and Arjuna Obeysekera.

The relevant petitions were filed by the late Premachandra’s wife and daughter,  Sumana and Hirunika Premachandra, respectively, and Ghazali Hussain, former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL).

Appearing on behalf of former MP Hirunika, President’s Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran revealed that then President Rajapaksa had not followed the proper legal procedures due when granting such a presidential pardon.

Thus, Sumanthiran affirmed that the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to invalidate the pardon granted by the former President to Duminda Silva, on account of the fact the pardon granted was in violation of the Constitution.

Subsequently, Attorney-at-Law Eraj Fernando, appearing on behalf of Sumana Premachandra, further provided evidence that although a report from the Attorney General is required for such a presidential pardon to be granted, the former Head of State had failed to obtain one.

Accordingly, it was decided for the petitions to be heard again on 20, 23 and 28 March.

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